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Tribes in the Dark Design: Playbooks

Design notes on playbooks in Tribes in the Dark

Tribes in the Dark centers on the Eighth Tribe and assumes players will take on the roles of one of the Fallen. Because of this, the basis for each playbook is one of the Seven Tribes but as an outcast.

It Was A Long and Winding Road

The project to try to reboot Tribe 8 is, at this point, several years old. The earliest discussions were around precisely how to represent the PCs. Would all of the possibilities—Tribal, Fallen, Keeper, Outlander (what we renamed Squats)—be available? Should it focus only on the Fallen, and what was more important —their new Fallen Outlook or Tribal Heritage? There was a lot of back and forth, and each perspective had its merits. Many combinations were thrown at the wall to see what stuck.

Fallen-Focused, Tribal Based

Two potential ways of structuring the playbooks shook out. One was seven playbooks based on the character’s birth Tribe. The other was four playbooks based on their Fallen Outlook. The latter had a few challenges with keeping to an aesthetic of everything being on the playbook. Namely, many character elements, such as Eminence or Tribal-based special abilities, would need to be swapped in. So it was decided that the base for the playbooks would be the Tribes themselves, which meant only needing to choose the Fallen Outlook and Fallen Eminences. In addition, the special abilities could be themed to their Tribal origin, but with an angle toward them being the ones that would be useful for an outcast.

So There Would Be Other Playbooks, Right?

You wouldn’t be far off if you thought the seven Fallen Tribal playbooks point to the potential of regular Tribal playbooks. However, we simply want to stay focused on the goal of the initial Tribes in the Dark book focusing on the Fallen and not write 16 plus playbooks. We just haven’t decided when and how to introduce additional playbooks. When we do, they will include the Tribal playbooks, Keepers, Outlanders, and likely others. This has included discussions of “native” Outlook playbooks for when the Eighth Tribe has come into its own.

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